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Oscar Wilde Returns to ‘Established’ French Routes to Join New Kid on the Block
#FrenchBoost- Cruiseferry, Oscar Wilde opened the 2014 season of Irish Ferries established Rosslare-Cherbourg route at the weekend, giving a boost in services, following the launch of the new Dublin Port-Cherbourg route last month, writes Jehan Ashmore. During this off-peak period,…
Peel Castle Wins Cover Shot for Manx Ferry Brochure
#BrochureAppeal – Peel Castle, a magnificent fortress set on St Patrick's Isle and overlooking Peel Marina is the winning front cover shot of the 2014 Isle of Man Steam Packet Company brochure. Robert Robinson of St. Helens took the winning…
Manx Cat In as Viking Warrior Sets Out to a Scotland of Rival North Sea Oil Visions
#ManxScots- Manx catamaran fast-ferry, Manannan entered Cammell Laird, Birkenhead for her annual refit in dry-dock No. 5 in preparation for the 2014 season, writes Jehan Ashmore. Operated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co, the InCAT built 96m craft…
Sail to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day and for Only €1
#SailStPatrick - A month to St. Patrick's Day and Celtic Link Ferries are offering a special €1 France-Ireland deal for the sailing on Sunday 16th March. Passengers will have the opportunity to travel on board Celtic Horizon between Cherbourg-Rosslare with…
More Bad Weather and Maintenance Lead to Cancelled Sailings
#CancelledSailings – As yet another gale warning is in effect some ferry sailings have been cancelled today on the Irish Sea and on French services. Travellers are advised to check for updates on the latest sailing information from Irish Sea…
Winter Ferry To Inis Mór Could Be No More
#AranIslands - Galway Bay FM reports on fears that winter ferry services to Inis Mór in the Aran Islands might end due to lack of Government funding. Galway Senator Fidelma Healy Eames raised the issue in the Seanad last week,…
A Ferry-Tale of Two Isles
#FerryIsles – Two ferries one serving on the Irish Sea, the other running a link to a Scottish island, were until yesterday undergoing refit together at Cammell Laird shiprepair facility in Birkenhead, writes Jehan Ashmore. Isle of Inishmore (1997/34,031grt) Irish…
Stormy Start to February Cause Cancelled Sailings
#CancelledSailings - As yet another storm batters the coast, some ferry sailings have been cancelled today and for tomorrow on the Irish Sea. Travellers are advised to check for updates on the latest sailing information from operators by clicking these…
Ellan Vannin Line to Consider Next Step
#ManxLink – Manx Radio reports that the head of a would-be competitor to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company says he hasn't given up after being denied access to their linkspan in Douglas Harbour. Captain Kurt Buchholz, chief executive…
Irish Ferries Voted Best Ferry Company for Fourth Year in a Row
#ferries – Irish Ferries has been voted Ireland's Best Ferry Company for the fourth year in succession at the Irish Travel Industry Awards held in Dublin recently. The award was bestowed on the company by a vote of Irish travel…
Brittany Ferries Order Giant LNG Powered Cruiseferry
#NewFerry - Brittany Ferries has announced an order for its largest ever cruiseferry, a 52,000 tonnes giant powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and entering service in 2017 on Cork-Roscoff and UK-Spain routes. The 12 deck cruiseferry with a capacity…
Sailing Champion Tiffany Brien Launches P&O Ferries Wi-Fi Connection
#FerryWiFi - Former Miss Northern Ireland and sailing champion Tiffany Brien helped P&O Ferries launch 'Wi-Fi that Works' - a new service giving ferry passengers access to a high quality, dependable Wi-Fi connection sailing between Larne and Cairnryan. Otherwise known…
Winter Launch of New Continental Routes to Heat-Up Competition
#FerryFrance – It may only be the first month of 2014, yet two new direct Ireland-France ferry routes are launched. Irish Ferries Dublin-Cherbourg route which opens today and LD Lines Rosslare-St. Nazaire-Gijon (Spain) services which began last weekend, writes Jehan…
Irish Ferries 'Epsilon' Commences Weekly Dublin to Cherbourg Service on Saturday
#ferry – This weekend (Saturday, 18th January 2014), Irish Ferries will inaugurate its new direct weekend car ferry service between Dublin and the French port of Cherbourg. As previously reported, the new 19-hours service will be operated by the passenger…
As Ulysses Returns Dublin ‘Swift’ Fast-Ferry to Go Off-Service
#DublinSwift- Ulysses departed Birkenhead fresh from annual maintenance today in readiness to resume a sailing from Holyhead in the early hours of tomorrow to Dublin Port, writes Jehan Ashmore. During the dry-docking at Cammell Laird shipyard, the operators Rosslare-Pembroke Dock…
Epsilon’s Return to Dublin Port Marks Irish Ferries Launch Countdown of New French Service
#DublinCherbourg - Irish Ferries ro-pax Cartour Epsilon, returned to Dublin-Holyhead route duties today and this weekend she launches a new direct route from the capital to France, writes Jehan Ashmore. Starting this Saturday, the once-weekly, year-round Dublin-Cherbourg operated route will…

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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